I have a sneak preview for you today; here’s one of the devotions from my manuscript,
Your Morning Chuckle & Faith Challenge!
There are parts of the city I hate driving in, especially the busy downtown core with its buses, taxis, pedestrians, cyclists. With so much going on, I wish I had an extra set of eyes. Finding a parking spot can be an even bigger nightmare and might require me to use that skill I dreaded most while practicing for my driver’s test: parallel parking!
My downtown driving anxiety decreased exponentially when our vehicles became equipped with a Global Positioning System (GPS). I merely tell my car where I’m heading, and a lovely voice recommends the best route to get there. (She doesn’t help with parking, but my car has another miraculous feature to do that.) Even when I miss a turn or confuse her directions, my GPS friend patiently redirects me and gets me back on track. She has given me driving confidence. I depend on her to get me to my destination in a relatively good time. (She has no control over the fact that I never leave with enough travel time to get anywhere ON TIME!) My trust in the GPS gives me the perception that I will never get lost—she’s got my back.
Have you ever been to a city, however, where the buildings are so tall, your trusty device can’t communicate with her satellite which tells HER where to go? That old anxiety comes flooding back that I will get lost—I will never arrive at my typical five-minutes-past-the-hour-I’m-supposed-to-be-there fashion. I might be too late to beg forgiveness! I might have to pay a missed-appointment penalty. So far, in those instances, I have managed to stay on course until the GPS reconnects to her mainframe-in-the-sky and continues giving me informed advice and trustworthy instructions. I wipe the sweat off my brow and continue with my mission.
With ongoing road construction and city expansion, sometimes our GPS gets outdated. She no longer recognizes the terrain because the information about road construction is no longer current. Suddenly, there’s a new road where only a field appears in her map content. When I use the new road that seems more direct and time-efficient, the GPS screen shows my avatar off-roading over green spaces and bravely driving across rivers. She doesn’t sound afraid or panicked, but she is determined to get me back on the right path. Over and over, she gives me directions to reroute to the roads she knows. Eventually, she can recalculate that final time when the new route connects to something familiar to her. This can also be a scary ride since I’ve lost her confident guidance. I seem to be beating a trail through the wilderness, and I can only hope the new road is taking me where I want to go (in the shortest amount of time, of course, because, seriously, I shouldn’t be more than five minutes late—that would be ill-mannered!).
These are usually the only two situations where I lose faith in following the GPS. So, one day while traveling to my son’s new apartment for the first time, I was surprised to end up lost.
My GPS friend was trying her best to get me there. There were no skyscrapers, no new streets. She just seemed confused. The directions she was giving me were nonsensical. She told me to go down one-way streets the wrong way and make turns where there were no roads. Her projected arrival time was much later than it should have been. It didn’t seem possible to be lost with a GPS next to me!
I double-checked that I had entered the address correctly. Yes, everything matched my son’s information. I used the GPS in my phone that day, which was usually more accurate than the built-in one that came with my car. This app could tell if there was heavy traffic or road closures and would give me the fastest route in real-time. But on this occasion, she was letting me down.
I called my son in frustration. (Yes, I was desperate enough to use my phone to call someone!) He tried to figure out where I was as I spouted off the street names on the signs around me. He suggested I put the address in my car’s GPS instead. I pulled over and did that. The new confident voice directed me to my son’s apartment with no errors.
The relief was instant. I hated the feeling of being lost. From the safety of my son’s couch, I opened my phone app again. What had gone wrong? It didn’t take me long to realize I had used the GPS while walking, not driving, the day before. The app still operated on the setting to walk to my destination! Her instructions all made sense if I had been on foot. WALKING on a one-way street in the wrong direction is perfectly acceptable. Some suggested turns were onto footpaths that crisscrossed the city, meant for pedestrians only. The problem was a user error. I could put my confidence back in the GPS for my next trip, and she would not likely let me down.
It’s not a good feeling to recognize that you’re lost. But, don’t we all feel a little lost sometimes? The expression we used in Newfoundland was, “I don’t know if I’m coming or going!”
One day while Jesus taught, He told three stories about lost things: a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son (Luke 15:3–32). His main message for the first two was simple: just like the shepherd cares enough to leave behind ninety-nine of his sheep to hunt for one who has wandered off, and the lady sweeps her entire house to look for one coin, God actively goes after people who have wandered away from His love. When He finds the lost soul, and that person repents of their sin, all of Heaven rejoices and celebrates.
In the parable of the lost son, the young man didn’t deserve a merciful homecoming. He’d been foolish and greedy, taking his money and wasting it, shaming his family, and disrespecting his father. When he came crawling home, his dad could have made him squirm just a bit. But no, the elated man ran to meet his boy, hugged him and kissed his filthy face, and treated him like royalty, demanding of his servants, “Get the finest robe you can find, put a ring on his finger and some nice shoes. Let’s kill an animal and have a party!”
The son must have felt worse, hearing these requests, because he knew he wasn’t worthy of this welcome.
The point of all these stories is that God loves us all and welcomes us home, no matter how far we have wandered from Him. When His children show up with a repentant heart, He is ready to throw a party.
We have a GPS to guide us on the best route to our final destination: our home with Jesus in Heaven. That guide is our Bible. The voice that accompanies the written instructions is the Holy Spirit, which is the part of God that resides within us when we receive salvation.
This navigation system will only work if: we focus on our destination (desiring a Kingdom journey), we hear the voice of the Holy Spirit telling us where to go (praying and listening), and we follow the directions given to us (submitting our lives to Him).
There will be distractions along the route, road signs that will confuse us, and locations where the GPS’s volume is faint and difficult to hear. If we can’t use our navigation system to find our way, however, the fault is ours—we made an error. The Holy Spirit will never steer us wrong because our Father doesn’t want us to end up lost.
Push the Home button on your GPS. It’s time to make a U-turn and return to your predestined route.
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3 NIV)
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 NIV)
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
How confident are you in the life path on which you travel? Have you ever felt that you’ve taken a wrong turn and ended up lost?
Read your Bible and pray regularly. When you apply these spiritual disciplines, you can follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance with complete trust and confidence that you are in God’s will. He will lead you to your final destination via the very best route.
Take some time today to praise Him for His faithfulness and listen for His voice.
God, help me find my way back to You and the path You wish me to take. As I submit my heart and will to You and learn to listen, help me hear the Holy Spirit’s voice, directing me where to go. Every choice and decision I make in my life is a fork in the road where I can become lost if I take the wrong turn. I know that You can reroute me and guide me back if I get lost, but I will have wasted time and missed out on experiences that You wanted me to have along the way. Help me to put my trust in You as I follow Your directions.
Lead me home, Father.
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